Monday March 30, 2020
‘Totally Under Control’: What Trump Said About the Coronavirus in the First Months of the Pandemic
For future reference:
- Jan. 22: “We have it totally under control. It's one person coming in from China. It's going to be just fine.” Via Poliltico
- Jan. 30: “We think we have it very well under control. We have very little problem in this country at this moment—five—and those people are all recuperating successfully. But we‘re working very closely with China and other countries, and we think it’s going to have a very good ending for us ... that I can assure you.” Via Poliltico
- Jan. 30: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow: “We see no material impact on the [U.S.] economy. The pandemic is, of course, in China, not the United States.” Via Washington Post
- Jan. 30: Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross: “[We don‘t] want to take a victory lap [but] I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to [the] U.S., probably some to Mexico as well. ... I think there’s a confluence of factors that will make it very, very likely more reshoring to the U.S. and some reshoring to Mexico.” Via Washington Post and New York Times
- Jan. 31: U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar: “Today President Trump took decisive action to minimize the risk of novel coronavirus in the United States [by declaring a public health emergency and restricting travel from China]. ... We are working to keep the risk low.” Via NPR
- Feb 2: “We‘re gonna see what happens, but we did shut it down, yes.” Via Reuters
- Feb 7: “Just had a long and very good conversation by phone with President Xi of China. He is strong, sharp and powerfully focused on leading the counterattack on the Coronavirus. He feels they are doing very well, even building hospitals in a matter of only days. Nothing is easy, but ... he will be successful, especially as the weather starts to warm & the virus hopefully becomes weaker, and then gone. Great discipline is taking place in China, as President Xi strongly leads what will be a very successful operation. We are working closely with China to help!” Via Twitter
- Feb. 11: “The virus that we’re talking about having to do, a lot of people think that goes away in April, with the heat. As the heat comes in, typically that will go away in April.” Via The Hill
- Feb. 11: “And by the way: The virus. They‘re working hard, but it looks by April, in theory, when it gets a little warmer, it miraculously goes away. Hope that’s true. But we‘re doing great in our country. China, I spoke with President Xi, and they’re working very, very hard, and I think it's all going to work out fine. Rough stuff, I tell you, rough, rough stuff, but I think it's all going to work out good. We only have 11 cases and they‘re all getting better.” At campaign rally, via YouTube
- Feb. 24: “The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA. We are in contact with everyone and all relevant countries. CDC & World Health have been working hard and very smart. Stock Market starting to look very good to me!” Via Twitter
- Feb. 25: White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on CNBC: “We have contained this, I won’t say airtight but pretty close to airtight.” Via Politico
- Feb. 26: “The risk to the American people remains very low. We have the greatest experts, really in the world, right here. ... We‘re ready to adapt and we’re ready to do whatever we have to as the disease spreads, if it spreads. We‘ll spend whatever is appropriate.” During a press conference in which he announced Vice President Pence was coordinating the government’s response. Via The New York Times
- Feb. 26: “And again, when you have 15 people — and the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero — that's a pretty good job we‘ve done.” Via Washington Post
- Feb. 28: “Now the Democrats are politicizing the coronavirus. You know that, right? The coronavirus. They’re politicizing it. We did one of the great jobs. .... And this is their new hoax. But you know we did something that's been pretty amazing: We‘re 15 people in this massive country. And because of the fact that we went early—we went early—we could’ve had a lot more than that.” At a campaign rally in South Carolina. Via YouTube
- March 2: “I think it's very safe [to hold campaign rallies].” Via The Hill
- March 5: “With approximately 100,000 CoronaVirus cases worldwide, and 3,280 deaths, the United States, because of quick action on closing our borders, has, as of now, only 129 cases (40 Americans brought in) and 11 deaths. We are working very hard to keep these numbers as low as possible!” Via Twitter
- March 5: “Well, I think the 3.4 percent [mortality rate] is really a false number. ... Because a lot people will have this and it's very mild. They‘ll get better very rapidly. They don’t even see a doctor. They don't even call a doctor. You never hear about those people. So you can't put them down in the category of the overall population in terms of this corona flu—or virus. So you just can't do that. So if, you know, we have thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of people that get better, just by, you know, sitting around and even going to work—some of them go to work but they get better.” On Sean Hannity's Fox News Show. Via Politico
- March 6: “But I think, importantly, anybody, right now and yesterday, that needs a test gets a test. They‘re there, they have the tests, and the tests are beautiful. Anybody that needs a test gets a test. ... The tests are all perfect, like the letter was perfect. The transcription was perfect. This is not as perfect as that, but pretty good.” At the CDC. Via Wired
- March 6: “You know my uncle was a great person. He was at MIT. He taught at MIT for, I think, like, a record number of years. He was a great supergenius, Dr. John Trump. ... I like this stuff. I really get it. People are surprised that I understand it. Every one of these doctors said, ’How do you know so much about this?' Maybe I have a natural ability. Maybe I should have done that instead of running for president.” At the CDC. Via Wired
- March 6: “I like the numbers being where they are. I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault.” At the CDC. Via NBC News
- March 8: “We have a perfectly coordinated and fine tuned plan at the White House for our attack on CoronaVirus. We moved VERY early to close borders to certain areas, which was a Godsend. V.P. is doing a great job. The Fake News Media is doing everything possible to make us look bad. Sad!” Via Twitter
- March 9: “So last year 37,000 Americans died from the common Flu. It averages between 27,000 and 70,000 per year. Nothing is shut down, life & the economy go on. At this moment there are 546 confirmed cases of CoronaVirus, with 22 deaths. Think about that!” Via Twitter
- March 11: “We made a life-saving move with early action on China. Now we must take the same action with Europe. ... A number of new clusters in the United States were seeded by travelers from Europe.” In address to the nation from the Oval Office. Via Politico
- March 13: “No, I don't take responsibility at all.” At Rose Garden press conference backed by CEOs. Via YouTube
- March 17: “This is a pandemic. I felt it was a pandemic long before it was called a pandemic.” Via The New York Times
Saturday March 28, 2020
'I Want Them to Be Appreciative'
Not enough is being written about yesterday's press conference. The New York Times barely mentioned it in their COVID-19 coverage. Not even a headline. They glossed over it. Any other president says shit like this in the middle of a global pandemic—about which he's given nothing but mixed messages from the get-go—and it would be front-page news. Trump says it and everyone shrugs. Just Trump being Trump. Meaning being such a solipsistic raging asshole that everyone is left without words. We‘re all speechless. Covid renders us breathless and Trump renders us speechless. Maybe that’s why the Times didn't cover it. Because what the fuck do you say?
Here's the exchange. Early on, he touted the administration response in his usual vague terms:
We‘ve had great success over the last month. We’ve, as you know, the millions and millions of pieces of equipment have been delivered successfully by us, purchased and delivered, and we‘ve made it available to the states and the governors have been very gracious—for the most part, I would say. A couple that aren’t appreciative of the incredible job. They have to do a better job themselves.
It took 20 minutes for a reporter to follow up on that nasty aside by asking if he could be more specific about the governors, and Trump interrupted, and we got this horror-show of a response:
Well, I think we‘ve done a great job for the state of Washington and I think the governor, who is a failed presidential candidate as you know—he leveled out at zero in the polls—he’s constantly chirping, and I guess complaining would be a nice way of saying it. We‘re building hospitals. We’ve done a great job for the state of Washington. Michigan, she has no idea what's going on. And all she does is say, “Oh, it's the federal government's fault.” And we‘ve taken such great care of Michigan. You know the care we’ve taken of New Jersey.
“We‘ve taken such great care of...” How specifically? “We’re building hospitals.” What hospitals? Where? The one I know about in Washington state is the temporary field hospital being built on the Shoreline soccer field, but that seems to be a county effort. In the meantime, we‘re short on masks, respirators, tests. And we were ground zero in the U.S. for a time. For the time when Trump was dismissing all of this, saying it was under control. Just one person. Just 15 and they’re all getting better. And it‘ll all just disappear like a miracle. It’s the Democrats' fault. It's being politicized. It's a hoax.
The reporter then followed up again—asking specifics about the governors of Washington and Michigan—but Trump interrupted again:
All I want them to do, very simple, I want them to be appreciative. I don't want them to say things that aren't true. I want them to be appreciative. We‘ve done a great job, and I’m not talking about me. I'm talking about Mike Pence, the Task Force, I'm talking about FEMA, the Army Corps of Engineers. There's no country in the world could have done what the Army Corps of Engineers has done and is doing. Now they‘re going in and building literal... They’re going into hotels and renovating hotels. That should be for governors to do. That should be for states to do.
Masks, respirators, tests. Again and again. That should be the mantra. “I don't want them to say things that aren't true,” says the man who can't open his mouth without lying. What untrue things are they saying? Apparently that Trump isn't doing a good job. “We‘ve done a great job,” says the man who can’t open his mouth without making it all about him, without trying to pull us into his demented worldview. He says it as if it's a fact. As if he's given evidence of anything he's done to ameliorate matters for states and hospitals and nursing homes and nurses and doctors and first responders.
There have been more evil people in the world but there has never been a more worthless human being. Never has one man expected so much from so many for doing so little.
Friday March 27, 2020
My Talks with Trump I
I suppose it really isn't Trump's fault. He's always been this way and it's always worked for him. Why should he change when the idiot way he's always acted has taken him to the White House?
The bigger fault lies with the people who support him. It's idiot Americans who aren't paying attention and give him a good grade for the way he's handled the COVID-19 pandemic: Dismissing it in January, constantly saying we have it under control in February, claiming it was a Democratic hoax in late February, then telling the world he always knew it was a pandemic and treated it accordingly in early March. Now, in late March, as our numbers leap past every other country (86k vs. 81k for China), he wants to end the social distancing by Easter, or two weeks from Sunday. Why? Just cuz. Cuz he needs it to get the economy going to get re-elected. Has he done anything throughout this crisis except spread misinformation while blaming others for his own ineptitude? Fox News is equally awful. They tout whatever he says. Whatever shift he makes, they make, and pretend they‘ve always made it. They’re 1984. Who can watch that crap? What idiot takes it seriously?
Thursday March 19, 2020
Four Days in the COVID-19 Pandemic
What everyone in the U.S. should be asking: What does South Korea know and when did they know it?
Meanwhile in the U.S. we went from 3,700 confirmed cases to more than 14,000. And a lot of people can't even get tested. I have a friend, C., who tried to get a test because she'd been short of breath with a cough. Meaning she had two of the three indicators. But the clinic told her no. They were worried she had it and might infect others.
So you can only get the test if you exhibit symptoms, but if you exhibit symptoms please don't come in and get the test. Somewhere, Joseph Heller smiles.
Monday March 16, 2020
Trump to Govs: ‘Get It Yourselves’
“Respirators, ventilators, all of the equipment—try getting it yourselves,” Mr. Trump told the governors during the conference call, a recording of which was shared with The New York Times.
“We will be backing you, but try getting it yourselves. Point of sales, much better, much more direct if you can get it yourself.”
from the New York Times article “Trump tells governors to seek out respirators and other vital equipment on their own.” See also David Leonhardt's excellent piece, “A Complete List of Trump's Attempts to Play Down Coronavirus,” with its straightforward subhed, “He could have taken action. He didn't.”